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A. J. Muste

From Academic Kids

Abraham Johannes Muste (January 8, 1885-February 11, 1967) was a socialist active in the pacifist movement, labor movement and the US civil rights movement. He was born in Zierikzee, the Netherlands, and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1896.

He attended Hope College, earning a Bachelor's degree (A. B.) in 1905 and a Master's degree (M. A.) in 1909. He earned a doctorate (B. D.) from Union Theological Seminary in 1913. He also attended the Theological Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church (now the New Brunswick Theological Seminary), New York University, and Columbia University. Muste was the author of 'Non-violence in an Aggressive World (1940).

Muste taught Latin and Greek at Northwestern Classical Academy (now Northwestern College) from 1905 to 1906. He was ordained a Dutch Reformed minister in 1909. In 1917, he resigned his ministry when his pacifism led to conflicts with his parishioners.

Muste volunteered for the American Civil Liberties Union and was enrolled as a minister of the Religious Society of Friends in 1918. Active in labor affairs from 1919, he was general secretary of the Amalgamated Textile Workers of America from 1920 to 1921. He also taught at Brookwood Labor College from 1921 to 1933. From 1940 to 1953, he was the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, during which time he became an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr..

After leaving Brookwood Labor College, he became a leader of the Trotskyite Workers Party-USA, though in 1936 he renounced Marxism and again became a Christian pacifist. He was a supporter of Eugene V. Debs and Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and also had close friendships with John Dewey and Norman Thomas. In 1957, Muste headed a delegation of observers to the 16th National Convention of the Communist Party. He was also on the national committee of the War Resisters League (WRL) and received their Peace Award in 1958.

At the end of his life, Muste was active in the movement against the Vietnam War. In 1966, he traveled, with members of the Committee for Non-Violent Action, to Saigon and Hanoi. He was arrested and deported from South Vietnam, but received a warm welcome in North Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh.

Contents

Quotes

  • "The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?" (1941)

Further Reading

  • Abraham Went Out, by JoAnn Robinson
  • Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J Muste, by Nat Hentoff

External links

See also

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